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Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 4

Opinions of Counsel index

Aged exemption (generally) (income reporting period) - Real Property Tax Law, § 467:

Where a locality has a taxable status date of January 1, and a property owner files an application for exemption pursuant to section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law on or before January 1, 1975, the income reporting period is the most recent twelve month period for which a federal income tax return would be filed or between January 1 and December 31, 1973.

We have received an inquiry concerning the filing requirement and income reporting period specified in section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law which authorizes a partial exemption on the owner occupied residence of certain aged persons with limited incomes. The question is what is the proper income reporting period for an application filed in a village with a taxable status date of January 1.

Real Property Tax Law, section 1400, requires village assessors to annually assess real property according to its ownership and condition, which includes exempt status, as of January 1 (taxable status date). Section 1400 indicates this date is applicable to most but not all villages. A property owner seeking exempt status must satisfy all of the requirements of a statute authorizing an exemption on such date in order to be allowed an exemption on the subsequently prepared village assessment roll. Pursuant to the provisions of subdivision 4 of section 467, an annual application for the exemption authorized thereunder is to be filed on or before the appropriate (city, town or village) taxable status date. Subdivision 3(a) of section 467 provides, in part, that the income to be reported is “. . . for the income tax year immediately preceding the date of making application for exemption . . . . Income tax year shall mean the twelve month period for which the owner or owners filed a federal personal income tax return, or if no such return is filed, the calendar year. . . .”

Therefore, in order to be eligible for the exemption authorized by section 467 on village taxes, a person must meet the requirements contained therein and file an application on or before the January 1 taxable status date. As noted above the income reporting period is the income tax year immediately preceding the date of making application for exemption, and income tax year is defined to be the twelve month period for which a federal income tax return is filed or the calendar year. A person is in no position to file a federal personal income tax return for the prior year on January 1 because he has not as yet received the necessary data required for such return. It should also be noted that while taxable status date is the final date for filing such applications most assessors encourage early filing. This allows more time for review and provides the applicant with additional time to obtain supporting material should it be required.

Accordingly, where a locality has a taxable status date of January 1 and a property owner files an application for exemption pursuant to Real Property Tax Law, section 467, on or before such date, the income reporting period is the most recent twelve month period for which a federal income tax return would be filed. Thus, for applications which are to be filed in a village on or before the taxable status date January 1, 1975, the income reporting period would be between January 1 and December 31, 1973.

October 16, 1974

Updated: